Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney is the first story in the ‘Palace of Dreams’ series that features the remarkable Shironne Anjir, who inexplicably shares horrific dreams of death with a mysterious stranger she nicknames the Angel of Death. Mikael Lee has trouble keeping his experiences and feelings from disturbing the sensitives all around him, but he has managed to keep certain secrets from almost everyone…including the surly heir to the king, Kai. A series of murders with distressing hallmarks indicate both a frightening tie to the past and a disturbing progression that is getting closer and closer to the throne. Unanticipated connections are discovered during the course of the investigation but the knowledge may come too late as the death toll continues to rise.
Some stories grab you from the first page and never let you out from under the spell, starting with a single thread and adding others until there is a complex tapestry of characters and events. The deft unfolding of this story and the breadth of conflicts and personalities captivate from the beginning and bring one along on a magic carpet ride of adventure. The gradual revelation of the main issue is supplemented by a host of secondary challenges but everything flows so smoothly that one is not overwhelmed by the sheer number of characters and their issues. The added twist of cultural conflicts, power struggles, and political implications give depth and texture to this compelling story and I enjoyed watching the mystery unfold. There are quite a few dangling threads that will probably continue to unfold through subsequent stories but this book formed a wonderful framework for the series to flesh out, even as it provides a nicely delineated story that will stand on its own. This is one of those books that will go on the favorites shelf to be read over and over in order to catch some of the nuances missed on previous visits, and I suggest that you not start it until you have plenty of time to spend lost in its spell. A great start to a wonderful new fantasy series.
© Night Owl Reviews
I received a copy of this title in return for an honest review.